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Latchkey Cat

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Greetings to all of you fortunate enough to be owned by cats! I've been considering adopting a cat from a local shelter. My problem is this: I have a tough work schedule and am out of the house about 12 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. My husband works similarly long hours. I've never owned cats, so I don't know how much companionship they need, but I'm afraid that the cat might get very lonely/bored. Is it better to wait until my schedule frees up a little to adopt an animal(years in the future)? Are there people out there in similar situations who share their homes with cats?
post #2 of 24
If you are away for long stretches of time, I'd recommend getting 2 so they can keep eachother company. Some people might say that 12 hours is too long to leave an animal alone. However, I'd say that a cat would be alot happier in your house, with the other 12 hours you can give it, than it would be in a cage in a shelter, or worse yet, being put to sleep. (Hope that sentence makes sense.)

I say go for it. Get 2. And spoil 'em rotten when you do get home.
post #3 of 24
I agree with the previous post - life with a loving owner is better than a shelter anyday! I am also out of the house a lot, but when I'm home my kitty gets lots and lots of attention. Leave a bunch of interesting and safe toys out while you're gone. I adopted an adult cat (2 years old) which is something you may want to consider rather than a kitten which would need a lot more supervision. I felt very guilty leaving the house until one day when I stayed home and found out she just sleeps all day anyway. :tounge2:

If you have the space and the desire to give two cats a new home, go for it, but if you can't, don't feel bad. My cat was very withdrawn and stressed in the shelter because she does not like other cats and because of the cage and noise and smells. They specifically wanted to place her as an only cat. Now that she feels safe and has the run of the place she is a little hellraiser and a lot of fun (when she's awake).

Good luck!
post #4 of 24
I work a lot of 12 hour days, and have to be gone on weekends sometimes. Having 2 alieviates all most all of my guilt. Having a second is no more work than having one.

The litter box fills up quicker, but that's about it. After seeing my two together, I will never have just one.

My cats don't seem bothered at all by the amount of time I'm gone. In fact a lot of times when I am home, they are too busy playing with each other to notice me!

I had to convince my boyfriend that 2 weren't anymore work than 1, and now he agrees with me.

Good luck with your decision & let us know what you decide to do!

(my 2 are sisters from the same litter. they were about 4 months when I got them, so they weren't little kittens. If you can get 2 at the shelter that are from the same litter, or have been brought in by the same person, that is the best way to go)
post #5 of 24
I agree with every one. If you can (think that you will have to pay for 2 sets of vaccines and food), so if you can get 2 cats: they will be more happier that way (in my own experience) and watching 2 cats be friends, sleep and play together will give you much much happiness.

And they really don't give much work... in comparison with the joy they will give you. But don't feel bad if you take only one, if I am not wrong cats sleep what ... 20 hours a day anyway?... And probably will when you are at work and will be full of energy when you get home...like that:


(By the way welcome! I see that it's your first post...)
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for all the words of encouragement! I have been really agonizing about the decision (in tears in the car leaving the shelter)...but I think I'll go for it. Yes, getting 2 cats is a good idea. I went down to the shelter on Sunday with my husband...and, of course, we fell in love with two different cats! He likes this tiny scrappy 1-year-old tortoiseshell female who has lost the tip of her tail, loves to play and literally growls at bird videos. My favorite is a big black cat with a 4-inch stub of a tail who followed me around hissing at every other cat I petted and then climbed up on a ledge and sulked. But he is the gentlest thing to people (he tucked his claws in so carefully when I picked him up that his little feet felt like velvet), has big green intelligent eyes, and looks so obviously miserable!!

Do you think that if we get both cats the black one would beat up on tortoiseshell or that a lot more space (separate bowls, etc.) would make the difference? They're in the enclosure together now with a few other cats and seem at least to tolerate each other. They have both been down there for a long time and I would love to just scoop them both up.
post #7 of 24
Patience and lots of TLC will do the job!!! Go for it!
post #8 of 24
I only have one kitten at the moment, but I do know that you should separate them for about a week at first and integrate them slowly. As for separate bowls, I would say definitely, but I'm not sure about the litter. I am so happy to hear that you are adopting from the shelter!!! The cats sound absolutely precious. It's good that you let the cat pick you. That is usually when you know you have a keeper!! Don't be worried if at first they don't get along. Give it time and patience and you will all be rewarded in ways you cannot imagine!! Best of luck! :angel2:

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your information and encouragement! I can see I've found a great forum, and I'm sure I'll be returning with lots of questions. I just have to learn how to use the smilies. Hell603, I love the image and the message! Mind if I pass it along to a few friends? I plan to take some time off this Friday afternoon to run by the shelter and pick up the cat or cats. Wish me luck!
post #10 of 24
I'm so happy for you! I would think that since the 2 cats have been co-exsisting together already (as well as with a bunch of other cats) that integrating them isn't going to be that big of a problem. the black cat that you are partial too may be protective of you, and that could cause a bit of friction, but you never know and that may not end up being a problem.

Can't wait to hear what you name them!

post #11 of 24

Of course not - that is what it's there for.

Good luck on Friday and let us know how it turned out!

post #12 of 24

Dear Regina

Welcome and thank you for such a inspiring thread! It's so good to hear that you're getting the both kitties
I'm very anxious to hear how you make out tomorrow!

Have fun!!
Love, Peace &
post #13 of 24
I'm glad you decided to go for it!
Let us know how things go.
post #14 of 24

Just want to wish you all the very best with your new babies. They sound so sweet.Please keep us posted.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Here's what happened on Friday. After talking it over with my husband we decided to take one cat at first, as we haven't had cats before and don't know what to expect. So I had a really tough decision to make. I went down to the shelter and saw both cats again. When the black cat looked up into my eyes, I just couldn't leave him there, so he was the one that I took. His name is Ebony and he is a wonderful companion and loves to sit beside me on the sofa or lie stretched out on the floor nearby. When I first brought him back, he was quiet and just sniffed around and stayed close by me but now he is getting bolder and more active, climbing around, meowing loudly for food and going by himself to look out the window or sit on the stairs.

This cat is so gentle and so used to being around people that I really wonder what could have made someone give him up to a shelter. He will jump into your lap upon invitation and will respond to a firm "NO" if he is scratching the couch or trying to get through the door. I also suspect that he is older than what they told me at the shelter as he has quite a few white hairs around his ears and belly and is not particularly spry. He even submitted to a bath yesterday--and didn't scratch once, although he did jump out of the tub a few times (he stood on a rubber mat in the tub and I washed him in lukewarm water with a handheld shower sprayer on low volume, avoiding his head and ears).

I have been spoiling him rotten, especially because he wasn't eating much initially so I was feeding him little chunks of canned food by hand. Now that his appetite has returned he is begging for treats and food--and he already has a big belly from trying to eat all the other cats' food at the shelter! He begs for table food (e.g. ham sandwiches) by sitting next to you and looking up with big round eyes--if there is no response a gentle paw tap on your arm or the sandwich follows. He has dry food available at all times but scorns that in favor of tastier alternatives. I will have to try to control myself and not give out so many cat treats!

Hope you understand my decision to take only one for now! He is really loved and we enjoy having him with us so much.

post #16 of 24
Regina - Ebony sounds like a wonderful cat. I'm glad you decided to give him a home. I don't think your decision to take only one cat was a wrong one. I can understand your reasoning since this is your first kitty. Maybe someday you will decide to add a second cat to your household. When and if you do, I can see that cat will be a very lucky kitty too!
post #17 of 24

Ebony is a lucky guy and you see that being owned by him will be very good. Reading what you wrote I can see that you love him and he seems to be such a deary... If you can post some photos of him so we will be able to drool...

post #18 of 24
Ebony sounds so sweet. I can understand you taking just the one for now.Is is an adjustment. He is a lucky cat to have a home with you.
post #19 of 24
Congrats on the new addition!
Sounds like Ebony has you trained already.
post #20 of 24

Sounds like Ebony has a great home. Don't feel pressured into getting another one, but don't rule it out either.

Just wanted to pass along something that I just recently realized. You indicated that you gave Ebony a bath and used lukewarm water. I used to do the same thing, and my kitty was always shivering. Then I read that since cats have a warmer body temperature than we do, the water should be much warmer, otherwise they get cold quickly. Since I raised the water temperature, my kitty is much happier at bath time!! (I was always paranoid with the water temperature thing, since when I was a kid, I used warm water for my gold fish and I inadvertantley killed them!!!! YIKES!!!

post #21 of 24

I'm glad to hear Ebony has a good home. He sounds like he's fitting in nicely. I did the same thing you did. I wanted to take both Mollie Rose and her sister home but didn't know what to expect with one kitten let alone two. You never know. Maybe when you finally realize you're ready for another one you'll have the same fascinating experience with him or her as you did with Ebony. By the way, I now have 7.

Good luck.

post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
Julie & Jacqui,

Thanks for your support! Jacqui, I will try using the warmer water next time Ebony gets a bath. 7 cats--how do you cope with the litter box? I scoop twice a day and even so the room with the litter pan has become uninhabitable! On the body temperature thing, I have noticed that he seems comfortable at an air temperature that is too warm for me. He doesn't like to sit in the living room with the air conditioning on and will tuck his paws in to conserve warmth and go into "cat loaf" mode. He is also a big snuggler and will cuddle up to watch TV with us, probably trying to keep warm!

post #23 of 24

Hi Regina! :daisy::angel2:

I'm so excited to hear of the news! I think your decision was very smart based on what you felt in your heart...You never know; eventually you may decide to get another one...cats are very addictive! :LOL: Whatever your decision, I'm just so happy that Ebony has found you and your hubby!

I can tell love you are in love with him and I'm sure the feeling is mutual Thank you so much for adopting Ebony!

Love, Peace &
PS...I thought you might like this

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I meant to say "Donna" not "Julie"! Catarina, you're right, we are in love with our fat little cat! I can't imagine what it would ike to have kids, we spend so much time thinking about Ebony's care and safety. BTW, your kitties are gorgeous! I'll have to get some photos of Ebony uploaded so you can see his big belly in all its glory. He's going to the vet this weekend for a checkup, and I'm going to get some recommendations on how to put him on a diet...but we must preserve the image of that belly for posterity!

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